Saturday, August 24, 2013

First letter from the MTC

I am a missionary!  I absolutely love it!  It can be scary and really intimidating but I truly do love my name tag.  Saying goodbye was really hard but I was so excited!  After I walked away from the car they took me to a building where I got a packet with my wonderful missionary name tag, room key, companion names and release date:  March 10, 2015.

When they put my missionary name tag on it was the best feeling in the world and I never want to take it off.  Haha, good thing I'll be wearing it for 18 months!  After picking up my name tag I walked to a different building with my host and picked up my 12 pounds of books... literally 12 pounds!  So heavy!  Most of them are grammar books, dictionaries and scriptures in Finnish. :). After that they took me to wait for the buses where I met up with one of my companions.  Yes, that's right...I have two!  I also met one of the elders in my district, Elder Hugie.  He is 18 and right out of high school and really fun.  When we got to Wyview (West Campus) where we dumped out luggage and hurried to class.

Class...oh my goodness.  Talk about a firehose in your face and being a deer caught in the headlights! My teachers spoke absolutely no English so most of the time you just stare at them with wide eyes and look like "whaaat?"  But Finnish is a beautiful, wonderful language and I love it and can't wait to learn more!  But guess what?!  My teacher is Sisar Shaw!  (Sister Shaw is a cute returned missionary that we discovered through a missionary blog and invited out to our house to tell some of the recently called sister missionaries to Finland all about the Finland mission.).  How crazy is that?!  It was so comforting to see a familiar face!  I also have another teacher but I can't remember his name.  I really like him a lot too, even though I don't know a lot about him because of the language barrier.  

Well, there are 2 Finnish districts.  My district has 3 sisaret and 5 elders:  Sister Knapp, Sister Ross and Sister Farnworth and Elder Hugie, Elder Wilson, Elder Steberg who is from Sweden and speaks really good English too, Elder Chapman and Elder Richards.  They are all super nice and I spent the whole day with my companions, of course, and the first three elders I mentioned.  So after the confusing few hours of class I went to a welcome meeting where we listened to some talks and learned rules.  The coolest was when all of the missionaries sang "We Are As The Army of Helaman."  It gave me goosebumps it was so cool!  after that I went to dinner where you got two options: spaghetti or turkey and potatoes :p.  The serving sizes are tiny.  But they do have fruit and a salad bar which is good.  Over all, the cafeteria is really nice.  After dinner we went to a 'missionary experience' where we practiced and watched as missionaries taught investigators.  Fortunately, it was in English, haha.  That was fun but super intimidating!  After that I met my zone leaders and toured campus, then came to my apartment, unpacked, and read mom's letter.  Yes, Mom, it made me cry but thank you so much!   I love you and just know that I am happy and excited to be here and know I am doing the rig thing!  I still miss you all lots though!  Well, I have to practice so I thought I will write out my testimony in Finnish and then translate. :)

Mina tiedan etta Jesus Kristus elaa.  Mina tiedan etta Jumala Rakastaa sinua.  Mina tiedan etta sovitus on todellinen.  Mina tiedan etta Mormon kirja on totta.  Mina tiedan etta Joseph Smith oli tosi profeetta.  Jeesuksen Kristukseen nimessa.  Aamen.

I know that Jesus Christ lives.  I know that God loves you.  I know that the atonement is real.  I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I know Joseph Smith was a prophet.  In the names of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Well, I am doing really well.  No need to worry about me!  I definitely can use all your prayers to learn this language.  I love it but its going to be a tough.  I forgot to tell you some about my companions so I will really quick.  Sister Farnworth is 24 and super nice.  I really like her a lot.  She is so easy going, which I know is something I will love about her!  Sister Ross is super nice and very strong.  She is definitely the one that leads out.  I also have two other sisters in my apartment.  I don't know much about them yet since they are in the other district.  There are 8 in the other district, 2 sisters and 6 elders.  Sister Nyman is from Norway and is super cute and has the coolest accent.  She is 19.  Sisar Hansen is 24 and has been living in France.

I'm sorry I don't really have much time.  I got up early so I could finish writing you!  Mom, Dad, Kara, Cassie, Landon, Taylor and Emily, I love you so much.  You will be in my prayers!  I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.  It is going to be tough being away from home but it is going to be so rewarding.  I already know that.  I can't wait to hear from all of you!  Mina rakastan teita ja kirkko on totta!  (I love you and the Church is true!)

Sisar Knapp

Missionary addresses posted on Facebook helped us to know who Hayley's first companion might be (a friend of two of Hayley's cousins, incidentally)  When we ran into Sister Farnworth at the temple prior to dropping Hayley off, we grabbed this picture of the two of them.  Sure enough, Sister Farnworth is one of Sister Knapp's MTC companions.  :)

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